Shaping our Future with Realism, Daring and Hope

Future of Religious Life of Dominican Sisters

This publication stems from the desire of DSI to share these reflections with others who may find insights here for themselves and their own communities. Approximately two years before the Sixth DSI General Assembly held in Rome in May of 2010, we felt the need to respond to the many hopes and anxieties that we have heard from 153 Congregations of Dominican Sisters about the future of Religious Life and how to prepare for a different tomorrow without being caught unprepared.

A future forcasted for several years has included several concerns and uncertainties, for example, reduction in vocations, financial crises, and poor theological and Dominican formatio. We felt that such shared challenges could only be faced in a communal manner and in  typical Dominican style: contemplata aliis tradere. In order to prepare for the future, we attempted to understand its signs in the present reality, to listen to them, read them and interpret them in light of the Word of God and of experience. This path of contemplation materialized over these two years through the work of Sr. Fabiola with several Congregations in approximately 28 nations of the world, the meeting of experts (Think Tank Meeting, November 2009) in Rome, and the dossier with responses of Sisters to the questionnaire prepared on the theme of the Assembly.

At the end of this long shared path, DSI convened the General Assembly where the General Prioresses or their delegates openly discussed the possible paths to take today, in order to prepare for the future and to prepare ourselves, to contribute to the prophetic action of the Holy Spirit in this history of ours. This publication is the result of this “communal” journey of reflection and analysis. We wish to share it with the rest of the Dominican Family as well as with other religious groups who feel they are facing similar challenges.

The text is structured on the three key words selected for the 2010 Assembly: Realism, Audacity and Hope. This publication provides much the material gathered to date regarding the three topics. Each section is arranged so as to leave the final word to the Sisters as they respond to suggested qeustions related to the collected materials. Our objective is not to provide a collection of recipes or a final word, rather to allow each section to be a fertile space for reflections and ideas. even if it may appear somewhat inarticulate and confused. Each one will take and process what he or she mostly needs. We wish you a good personal and communak journey.